We all opined on whether the government we put on a test for the last five years passed the exam or not. Finally, the results were declared and the the Modi government didn’t just pass the test. It aced it with flying colors. However, the pre-election tumutuousness and Modi wave not just confined to India. Discussed, deliberated and dissented inside the walls of Oxford’s Debating Society.
The Oxford Union
The Oxford Union is one of the world’s most prestigious debating societies. Known to organize various debates and deliberations on significant current topics and mind boggling themes. It is one of the Britain’s oldest university union and exists independently from the university. Many prominent individuals such as US President Bill Clinton, Dalai Lama, Indian Politician Shashi Tharoor, Mother Teresa and many other from all spheres of politics, music and academia have been hosted here.
Less than a week before election results, the Oxford Union deliberated on a motion. A motion that was significant to 1.3 billion people of the country.
Motion: This House has no confidence in Modi’s government.
Ironically, the proposition took the floor and motion carried. During every debate, the members put their point forward. Not only can students speak alongside guest speakers, but members of the audience can challenge points that have been made when the debate is opened up to the floor. Results determined by how many students walk out the door marked ‘ Ayes’ , and the door marked ‘ Noes’. In much the same way as done at the House of Commons ( The British Parliament ).
Oxford Union Speakers
Chaitanya Kediyal, a student of law and Chief of staff of Oxford Union, opened the case of proposition. He delivered his arguments on the lines of Hindutva ideology.
“First we have Shiva- the destroyer and I will tell you how Modi has also destroyed institutions of extreme significance in our country. Second, we have Vishnu- the preserver and I will tell how he preserved the worst elements in the society and emboldened them to a height that we should not be proud of. But finally, the main God of all, Brahma will tell you how he has created a hatred, a divisiveness and a failed vision for it means to be an Indian”
Elliot Bromely, the chair of Consultative Committee of St Edmund Hall opened the case of proposition. Elliot emphasized on the fact that Modi is the best alternative India has. He defended his case along the lines of 3 principle arguments.
“Firstly Modi’s government remain contemporary and dynamic. Secondly, Modi’s government has made the country more secure in challenging times. And thirdly, Modi’s government India’s best bet for a future for all”
Oxford Union debate
We saw renowned individuals from India on both sides. Salman Khurshid, an Indian Politician and a member of the Indian National Congress ; Mahi Joshi, a student and a librarian elect at the Union carried forward the case of proposition. Finally, Prashant Bhushan a public interest lawyer in the Supreme Court of India delivered the concluding statements.
The opposition also consisted of passionate individuals defending the motion. Nuri Abbas, a student of History and Politics and International Officer of the Oxford Union’s Access Committee; Janhavi Dadarkar, a British Indian financial consultant and CEO of Maiora Consulting. The debate came to an end with Gurcharan Das, a commentator and an author, best known for writing the bestseller India Unbound giving the closing statements.
The debate was not just enriching but showed the uniqueness of the content. Given the Union’s century long tradition of showing faith in the Majesty’s government, it was first time no confidence was debated.